SALES ANALYSIS / November Sales Paris 2022
The results of the November Paris sales show mixed performances, but quality and provenance continue to score highly.
IS THE HIGH-end design market starting to slow down? In Paris’s November sales there were no records, mixed performances, lower sold percentages, and some important lots remained unsold.
Sotheby’s sale was 80% sold and totalled €8,362,190 (hammer price €6,656,500) against a total high estimate of €6,343,500, with lots selling on average 21% above their high estimate. However, this result should be understood in the context of the mysterious withdrawal of a few lots including a mirror and a pair of appliques by Claude Lalanne, which changed the total estimate quite a bit.
A few days later Christie’s totalled €5,637,732 (hammer price €4,478,700) against a total high estimate of €4,497,700. 81% of the lots were sold, on average 9% above their high estimate.
Although the general results remain positive both auction houses saw important lots ‘bought in’ (meaning not sold). At Sotheby’s it was disappointing to see the elegant and unique ‘Meuble de rangement’ by Carlo Mollino unsold. The estimate seemed well judged for such a rare work, but the late style and the fact that it required some restoration might have discouraged potential buyers. The top lot – a unique ‘Orgone’ lounge by Marc Newson – also remained unsold (Lot 79, estimate €400,000-600,000). At Christie’s the cabinet ‘Étoile’ by Jean Royère failed to find a new home (Lot 65, estimate €150,000-200,000).
However, some important historical works managed to retain collectors’ attention. At Sotheby’s the desk and chair by Armand-Albert Rateau for Jeanne Lavin was sold for the honourable price of €1,487,000 (Lot 22, estimate €200,000-500,000, hammer price €1,200,000) and €138,600 (Lot 21, estimate €40,000-60,000, hammer price €110,000).
In the same sale, the result of the art nouveau ‘Pedestal table’ by Hector Guimard was a nice surprise. It sold for €151,200 (Lot 38, estimate €40,000-60,000, hammer price €120,000) – twice its high estimate – before being preempted by the Musée d’Orsay. Another notable result was the ‘Aragon’ coffee table by Jean-Michel Frank, which sold for €642,600 (Lot 115, estimate €100,000-150,000, hammer price €510,000).
At Christie’s the ‘Pentagone’ mirror by Line Vautrin sold well above its estimate for €453,600 (Lot 360, estimate €150-200,000).
All indicators point to quality and provenance being prime incentives for buyers, especially in a capricious economy. The results of the New York Design sales will put this theory to the test.
‘Important Design’ at Sotheby’s Paris, 22 November 2022.
‘Design’ at Christie’s Paris, 29 November 2022.